Archive for November, 2014


We are a little bit ahead in our school year, so it is already pretty close to Thanksgiving on the A Beka Academy videos.  Last week Kara was supposed to write a story for Penmanship class about a Thanksgiving turkey, and I thought her story was pretty cute!  I asked her if it was all right if I posted it here, and she said it was fine as long as I typed it so all of her cross-outs wouldn’t show!  LOL!  Here is her story:

One happy spring morning, a little turkey was at a new farm.  This little turkey was an odd fellow.  He was not like normal turkeys.  He had blue, weird hair, red and yellow feathers, and the worst thing was that he could not gobble.  His owners asked the vets to look at him, but they just said he was fine.  It was getting closer and closer to Thanksgiving Day, and Percival (for this was the turkey’s name) didn’t gobble once.  The owners started to get worried.  Finally it was Thanksgiving Day.  Percival was about to be killed for the holiday, but just then, he yelled out the loudest gobble ever!  The owners were so surprised that they passed out!  From there and forever Percival lived on that farm, and the owners never ate another turkey with blue hair, read and yellow feathers, and ones that did not gobble.

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Talent Show Collage

This past week was homecoming week at our town’s community college, and for us that means one thing:  it is time for the annual talent show!  After having such a wonderful experience participating last year, the kids had spoken fairly often about entering again this year and had many discussions about which acts to enter.

As time went along, I grew more and more doubtful that the college was going to have another talent show this year.  The person who had been in charge of this event had left the college, and I just didn’t hear anything about it.  Finally a couple of weeks ago, we were excited when John came home from college choir practice saying that the director announced that a homecoming talent show was being planned.

So, I watched the local newspaper for an announcement or something, and didn’t see anything.  Finally, the week before the show arrived, and the paper printed a short piece that said that auditions were open–but only for college students.  We were kind of disappointed–but settled our minds that this was all right because we certainly have enough other things going on.  This all changed, though, when the DAY OF the auditions, I saw a Facebook post saying that auditions were being held, and when I asked if they were open to the public, the response was affirmative!

We definitely had to scramble to figure out what we were going to do!  All of the kids had songs that they wanted to perform, but I reminded them that this is not “The O’Brien Show,” and that we have other opportunities to perform.  We all wanted to perform as a quartet, but Brock wanted to fiddle, and Cosette wanted to play a piano solo.  Cosette did a wonderful thing, however, when she said that she would not audition because she played a solo in last year’s talent show and thought Brock should have a chance this year.  That was such a sweet decision!  I told her that I was so proud of her that if she wanted to do the speaking for the quartet’s interview, I would definitely let her do that.

Well, we went to the try-outs, and a couple of days later we were called that both acts were accepted into the show!  We went to the dress rehearsal and left having mixed feelings about our up-coming performances.  I decided that I should ask Dan what we could do to improve our songs, and he had some good suggestions.  We decided to incorporate his ideas into our song, and just do the best that we could do.

The performance went well!  We walked off stage satisfied that we had done our best, and that’s all we can do.  We do not enter these events to win, but to learn and grow, and we knew we had accomplished that.  When Brock played his fiddle solo, the audience loved it!  His music filled that large auditorium, and it sounded great!  We were all very happy for him!  Here is a video of his performance:


(By the way, I must say that I love his explanation of how he got into Cajun fiddling during the interview–it’s very honest, and very true!  I had actually gotten that book for Cosette because she just loves playing double stops, and I guess the rest is history!)

So, how did the show turn out?  Here is a video announcing the results:


We were very, very happy!  We are also quick to give thanks to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to play, knowing that all good things come from Him!  We also express our congratulations to Paige–a friend who also loves the Lord and certainly deserved first place!

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A New Fad


Dan has always had an acoustic guitar in the closet.  I don’t know why–I am pretty sure he never played it.  The kids have asked about it from time-to-time over the years and have always thought it would be fun to learn to play.  The guitar, however, is not one of the instruments that I can play, so we picked up some books several months ago, but not much happened with it.

This all changed when the kids went to Bible camp.  There they met some boys who played guitar, and their interest was sparked.  So, on their own, Brock and Cosette got out that old guitar and the books and have started teaching themselves to play.  They both agree that it would be neat to be able to add guitar to their fiddling, so maybe that will happen!

Now the big fad in the Prairie Family house is practicing guitar.  In fact, that is what Brock is doing even as I am writing this entry.  We’ll see how it goes–maybe it will be a lasting fad (and I wouldn’t mind if it is a lasting fad!)

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Acoustic Eidolon


After spending last Saturday helping my parents move, we were ready for a break, and, boy, did we find one!  While Dan went to pick up Brock, Cosette, Luke, and Kara from Bible Camp, John and I went to a concert sponsored by the Western Plains Arts Association.  It was one of the best that we have been to!

This show featured Acoustic Eidolon, a husband/wife duo that plays a wide variety of music.  They were absolutely unbelievable!  The husband played several guitar and guitar-like instruments, and the wife was one of the best cellists I have ever heard.  What impressed John was their ability to take every-day life experiences and turn them into powerful songs.  One of our favorites was a song about the wife’s grandparents’ house–and it was sung from the perspective of that house.  Very thought provoking!

Another neat thing about this show was its venue.  It was held in a movie theater.  No kidding.  A movie theater.  This particular theater, though, has a small stage that worked perfectly for this type of program.  The seats were comfortable, the acoustics were fabulous, and the whole thing just “worked.”

Anyway, I would encourage everyone to keep a watch for Acoustic Eidolon, and if they are playing in your area, take the time to go hear them.  You will definitely not be disappointed!  In the mean time, here is a video of them for you to enjoy:

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Helping My Parents Move


Last weekend was crazy–that’s the only way I can describe it!  My parents and my brother recently decided that it was time for my brother and his family to move into the farm house, so they made an agreement to trade houses.  This was no small thing!  My dad has literally lived in this house his whole life, and my Mom has lived there for more than 50 years. So, there was literally a lifetime of stuff to sort through.  Fortunately, they had been working on this project for quite some time and had done a very good job of whittling away at this and that.  We all knew, though, that the actual moving day would be pretty hectic since two households were trading contents, and we were not disappointed!  I must say, though, that it went as smoothly as something like this could go.

The worst thing about this was that 4 out of 5 of my kids were gone that weekend!  They had planned for months to go to a fall retreat at a Bible camp, and the move and the camp fell at the very same time.  John was a real trooper, though.  He worked and worked and worked until we all just about wore ourselves out!

The main job of getting stuff moved between the houses took all day.  I felt bad that we really didn’t have much time to actually help Mom and Dad get things settled.  They have been whittling away at that project now, and they say that they are making great gains each day.  Their new place will eventually be just right for them–it is all on one level and is more manageable for two people than the large farmhouse was.  And, I am happy for my brother and his family–they definitely needed the larger house for their family with three active boys!

So, it has been a season of change.  But it has been a good season of change!

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I am proud to say that my great husband was recently presented the KSU Department of Communications Communicator of the Year award!  Yes, if there is something that we O’Briens are good at, it’s talking!  🙂

Seriously, though,  we are very proud of the work Dan does, and we all agree that he is a pretty good communicator!

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